Posted by: timscooking | June 23, 2010

Farmers’ Market – Day Four Tomato Bread Soup

This soup is a staple throughout Tuscany in Italy, where it is known as pappa al pomadoro. The Tuscans believe theirs to be the best bread in all of Italy, known for its golden crust and dense, chewy center. Since most households either bake or buy fresh bread every day, this is an excellent way to use the day old bread that is in the pantry. And, because it takes only about 25 minutes to prepare, It could be a quick lunch or a tasty first course for dinner. We like soup, so many times this is dinner. No leftovers!

I still had some of the rosemary olive oil bread and tomatoes we had purchased at Eastern Market the previous Saturday and I was determined to use every bit of what we had in one week’s time. You could use day old Italian or French bread with excellent results.

Since I was using fresh tomatoes, it was necessary to peel them before adding to the soup. You can do this easily. Just score the bottom of the tomato with a paring knife. Drop in boiling water for 1 minute and then plunge into an ice water bath.  Shocking the tomatoes this way makes peeling them a snap. If you are using canned, look for whole peeled tomatoes and crush them by hand.

Also, there is no salt added in this recipe due to the fact that the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano is quite salty on its own.


  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 2 lb. fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped or 32 oz. canned, peeled tomatoes, seeded and hand- crushed
  • 12 oz. day-old Italian bread, large cubed 
  • 3 c. water
  • 1 c. fresh torn basil leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


In a large sauce pot, heat the olive oil over a medium-high until hot but not smoking. Add the onion and garlic and saute for a few minutes, until onion is translucent. Add chopped tomatoes and their juices and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook until the tomatoes begin to soften and break down, about 5 minutes.

Add the bread cubes and water. Continue simmering until the bread has absorbed as much liquid as possible. Stir in the basil. Season, to taste, with pepper. Let the soup continue simmering for 10 more minutes, then serve immediately in warmed soup bowls. Garnish, to taste, with Parmigiano-Reggiano.


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